A note from Sarah
The July/August issue is out! This issue looks a little different than most, since there are only two long stories: “Get Myself a Rocking Chair” by Nora Heiskell, 12, and an excerpt from Tristan Hui’s forthcoming book The Other Realm, which won our Book Contest last year.
I want to draw your attention to the opening line of Tristan’s book. Tristan begins The Other Realm with a seemingly simple sentence, but one that leaves the reader wanting to know more: “The mind of Azalea Morroe’s father was coming apart.”
What a way to start a story! There’s so much in this short sentence—who is Azalea Morroe? Why is her father’s mind coming apart? And how exactly? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep reading (and once you finish the excerpt, you can pre-order the book to learn the whole story).
With this sentence, Tristan starts off her book in a compelling way. It reminded me of the famous opening lines from literature. Maybe you’ve heard of a few, like “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” from George Orwell’s 1984. Or, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” There are so many great examples! Maybe you have some of your own favorites.
For a weekend project, I suggest that you craft a list of many of these opening lines. Consider what details to include and what tone to use. What would make you want to keep reading something? This list could start as a jumping off point for a story, or it could be an exercise in and of itself.
Book Contest 2021
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Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
Young Blogger BlueJay published three stunning time-lapse videos of food being eaten—Baked, Zest, and Heliotrope.
Summer Classes and Events!
Young Author’s Studio Summer Camps: we are offering a wide range of classes through the summer jointly with the Society of Young Inklings. Each camp runs for two hours per day, Monday through Thursday. All details and bookings via Society of Young Inklings.
By Tristan Hui, 15 (Menlo Park, CA)
Illustrated by Rosemary Brandon, 10 (Nashville, TN)
The mind of Azalea Morroe’s father was coming apart. Gradually, and only at the seams, but coming apart all the same—and that was where the adventure began.
Henry Morroe was not terribly old, nor terribly unhealthy. A researcher in an astronomical laboratory, he was both fervently passionate about his work and blissfully oblivious to his unpopularity at the place. Henry had always been of an eccentric manner, and because of this, no one really noticed that anything was wrong. For what was now out of order in his mind was assumed to have always been that way. Eccentricity was not a welcome or valued trait in Montero; the little family spent most of their time shut up in the little flat they shared, except for when Azalea went to school over the hill and her father to work—when he went to work. Lately, it had not been so.
Lately, Henry Morroe was in his study from sunrise till sunset, combing over maps and taking notes from books, sticking tabs of paper to the walls, and perpetually adding to the jumbo fold-out poster board that was to save him from being laid off. In truth, it was more of a firing than a layoff, because the research company had never been a fan of Henry Morroe—although he did good work, they were much more preoccupied with their image than the accuracy of their research. They had finally found someone better—rather, someone much wealthier and more popular—to analyze and compare the data collected by the many enormous telescopes in the lab. Sure, the results might be sorely lacking in accuracy, but the image the lab projected onto the astronomical research industry would be brightened tenfold. It was a worthy switch.
However, Henry Morroe had heard of this plan some weeks back—listening with an antique ear trumpet pressed to the keyhole of his supervisor’s office—and the news had derailed any other train of thought completely. They had granted him a temporary leave while they set the other guy up in Henry’s office, and Azalea’s father had taken that time to formulate a plan guaranteed to get his job back.
This plan revolved around the information concealed in a dusty old volume, one that Azalea was reading while she stood in front of the bathroom mirror brushing her teeth. All About the Two Realms, by Dr. Arnold Colton, was a book with a history deeper than most. Eccentricity did not prompt celebration in Montero, and Dr. Arnold Colton had written a very eccentric book.
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